“Nino, you wanna piece of me?” Justice Stephen G. Breyer and Jeffrey Toobin, at the New Yorker Festival. Photo by Startraks.
Somewhat late, but better late than never: part one of the more detailed account that we promised you of Justice Stephen Breyer’s interview with Jeffrey Toobin, at the New Yorker Festival last weekend.
The setting of the interview was impressive. The Celeste Bartos Forum at the New York Public Library is a grand, high-ceilinged room, with marble and dark wood trim gracing the walls. Justice Breyer and Jeff Toobin sat on two directors’ chairs on the small, elevated stage at the front of the room, with a gold and brown backdrop behind them.
Before the talk started, one could feel the buzz of anticipation in the room. Our knees were trembling with anticipation, and our heart was beating almost audibly. Supreme Court justices make us weak! (And apparently we’re not alone. Festival publicist Kimberly Burns informed us that the Breyer/Toobin talk sold out on Ticketmaster in three minutes — like a rock concert.)
More notes, after the jump.
Fashion props to both Justice Breyer and Jeffrey Toobin. Toobin emerged first, wearing an impeccable grey-blue suit, a spread-collar shirt, and a striped tie in a delicate pale grey. We were sitting fairly close to the stage, so we could see the hand-stitching on the suit’s lapels.
Toobin gave a brief introduction of Justice Breyer (which we won’t summarize here because you can obtain the same biographical info at Wikipedia, Oyez.org, or LII). Then Justice Breyer emerged.
Justice Breyer was wearing a dark grey suit, a pale blue shirt, and a salmon-colored tie with a cross-hatched pattern. His bright eyes — hazel? — were behind glasses. We were struck by his large ears and big hands (“I know you’re the one…”).
While not a judicial hottie, Justice Breyer made a favorable first impression on us. He’s a thin, elegant, patrician man. He may not have the same presence as other D.C. celebrities we’ve met (e.g., Bill Clinton — or even, for that matter, Hillary Clinton, whom we found surprisingly warm). But he’s very distinguished-looking. If you called central casting and asked for a judge, and for some reason didn’t want an African-American female actress — ubiquitous as judges on TV and film these days — you might very well get Stephen G. Breyer.
(Our only quibble with Justice Breyer’s appearance: he has a bit of a wattle. Justice Breyer, you do know that that can be corrected by cosmetic surgery, right?)
Okay, we’ve set the scene. In a subsequent report, we’ll address the substance of SGB’s remarks.